s a foodie residing in Orange County, I bet you feel pretty spoiled right about now. Your favorite chefs are opening multiple restaurants with different innovative dining concepts, you no longer feel like you’re the only one taking photos of your food at the table (because you’re not), the cocktails have matured to a level beyond your palate’s imagination, and while the technique and innovation continues to develop in the kitchen and thrive behind the bar, the events are getting more intimate and even more unique in the culinary experiences that they provide.
Fisher & Paykel’s Experience Center in Costa Mesa is home to the new Secret Chef Society event series, which benefits the Golden Rule Charity, and we couldn’t be more excited to attend and show support. Attendees savor a reimagined secret chef demo experience while mingling with other culinary enthusiasts and are given the key to unlocking their culinary greatness. Although we can’t say much about what future events have in store for you, because the mystery is part of the fun, we can tell you about the inaugural event that we attended last month! Even Pamela Waitt, President of the OC Restaurant Association can offer you a little taste of what to expect, “They’ll all be chefs you know or would love to get to know.” Come hungry and get schooled!
During the inaugural event, we arrived early and sipped wine while surveying the scene, breaking for nibbles on crudités provided by Melissa’s Produce and exchanges hugs with familiar faces. There was a bread spread by Bread Artisan Bakery that would have Oprah Winfrey RSVPing to the May 15 event date. (Sorry Oprah, the event series is already sold out until June!) We tried to keep our eyes peeled for a glimpse of who the surprise chefs would be, but were sidetracked by trying to find the best seat in the house to claim … turns out that with an intimate crowd of 50 that was wasted energy — every seat in the house is a good one. Some lucky attendees who were game even had the opportunity to throw on a Fisher & Paykel apron and demo along with the surprise chefs! Drum roll, please … Surprise! Recipes were demoed by Fisher & Paykel’s Executive Chef Rob Wilson and Chopped Champion Executive Chef Joe Youkhan.
One delicious appetizer after another, we showed appreciation one bite after another. Not one person said I could have had another, largely in part to the fact that we’d all be going home with the recipes, and also because there were plenty of tastings to be had. As the night came to a close, we squeezed the keys that we had been given upon entry. We felt lucky that night, and I don’t think it was just because of the raffle. Having the opportunity to participate in an event of this caliber made me feel like foodies are all winning in Orange County right now. My first takeaway was that I honestly don’t know how these incredible chefs find the time to participate in all of these events, considering most are all working 60+ hours a week in the kitchen. But before I can even finish that thought, it seems even more apparent how they do it. These chefs are so passionate and so inspired and motivated by their industry to continue performing even beyond the boundaries of the restaurants that they represent. They do it because it’s their identity, and wholeheartedly, it’s reflected in every bite of their food.
100% of the ticket proceeds go to Golden Rule, a charity that supports food industry workers in need, and as we mentioned earlier, tickets are sold out all the way through June, but you can still donate here and stay connected by visiting Secret Chef Society’s website. Be sure to keep the conversation going on social @secretchefsociety.